LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers were behind by a run in the bottom of the ninth. But they had two runners in scoring position. Matt Kemp was at the plate. Archie Bradley was on the mound.
Bradley threw his first pitch and then this happened.
OUR HOUSE. pic.twitter.com/ePAC9Ann2r— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 2, 2018
Kemp’s walk-off two-run hit not only put the Dodgers back in first place by themselves, it culminated a weekend of big late-inning hits.
The ninth inning was filled with highs and lows. Caleb Ferguson started the ninth with the game tied 1-1. Up first was Dodger nemesis Daniel Descalso. Descalso proceeded to hit a tie-breaking home run to left-center. It was his fourth home run of the season against the Dodgers.
Kenley Jansen entered the game and he worked around an Alex Avila double to keep the deficit at a run.
Andrew Chafin had warmed up to pitch to Yasmani Grandal, manager Dave Roberts changed the situation when he had Chris Taylor pinch-hit for Grandal.
Diamondback manager Torey Lovullo replaced the left-handed Chafin with his right-handed closer Brad Boxberger. Seeing it is September 2nd and there a lot of bench players, Roberts had the left-handed Verdugo hit for Taylor.
Boxberger walked Verdugo on five pitches. Then he walked Max Muncy to put two on with no outs. This was only the fifth time in 52 games, Boxberger had issued two or more walks in an appearance.
Kiké Hernández came up and sacrificed Verdugo and the pinch-running TIm Locastro to second and third. With Matt Kemp waiting to come up, Lovullo took the ball from his closer and gave it to Archie Bradley.
“I mean I was a little surprised they took out Boxberger,” Kemp said after the game, “but I don’t care we won the game.” Asked if he thought the home run he off Bradley on Saturday night, Kemp said, “Of course, when i was walking up to the plate, they were showing what happened last night.” “In my mind, I wasn’t really not thinking about hitting a home run, I’m really just trying to get that one run in from third base, it so happened I got two.
Roberts said after the game that Kemp’s last two hits were two of the biggest all year. He was also pleased with how he was ready for that situation after not starting today.
“For him to understand a different role for him and to come prepared every single day to help us win a game at some point and time” Roberts said, “just a tribute to him.”
Kenley Jansen picked up his first win of the year. Jansen is the twenty-first Dodger pitcher to get a win this season, that is two less than the franchise record set in 2016.
There was a bit of concerning news after the game, Walker Buehler who pitched very well on Sunday left the clubhouse after the game to get precautionary x-rays on his left foot.
Going to back to the game he pitched, Buehler was brilliant for six innings as he only gave up a single and two walks while striking out nine.
Buehler took his shutout to the seventh inning. A leadoff single from Paul Goldschmidt and a one out walk brought manager Dave Roberts out of the dugout. He called Ryan Madson in for his first Dodger appearance.
Madson walked the first batter he faced and then he had Avila up. Avila hit a fly ball to center, Cody Bellinger caught the ball and fired a throw to home plate. The ball and Paul Goldschmidt arrived together and the umpire called Goldschmidt out.
The Diamondbacks asked for a review and were rewarded with a reversal that tied the game 1-1.
The Dodgers scored first, Max Muncy opened the fifth inning with a home run to give the Dodgers a lead. The Dodgers would get two runners on base but Justin Turner lined into a double play.
Diamondback starter Clay Buchholz finished with five innings pitched, he gave up one run on Muncy’s homer and four hits. Buchholz walked two and struck out four.
After being behind by 4½ games on August 22nd, the Dodgers have now won eight out of their last nine games. The Diamondbacks have dropped seven of their last ten games in that same stretch. The Rockies played even at 5-5.
All of this means the Dodgers will enter Labor Day in first place by a half game over the Rockies and a game over the Diamondbacks. With four weeks to go, this should be quite a September.
The Dodgers will host the New York Mets starting with a late afternoon Labor Day start time to begin their three-game series. Alex Wood (8-6, 3.42 ERA) takes the mound for the Dodgers while the Mets will send out 2018 National League Cy Young Award candidate Jacob deGrom (8-8, 1.68 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 p.m.
Home runs: Max Muncy (31), Daniel Descalso (12)
WP - Kenley Jansen (1-5): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 strikeout
LP - Brad Boxberger (2-5): ⅓ IP, 2 runs, 2 walks